The muscles in the lower abdominal region (below the navel) do not exist in isolation. The abdominal muscles consist of a series, called the upper, lower and oblique abdominals.
It’s not possible to train the lower abdominal muscles and leave out the others, but it is possible to do exercises that emphasize this area. Let’s try and understand the function of the abdominal muscles.
Contraction of the upper abdominal muscles tends to bring the ribs towards the pelvis. Imagine you are lying on your back for the abdominal crunch. When your shoulders are raised off the floor, the action is initiated by the upper abdominal muscles.
Contraction of the lower abdominal muscles tends to bring the pelvis towards the ribs. Imagine you are lying on your back for the traditional reverse abdominal crunch (one of the best lower abdominal exercises). When your legs and hips are raised off the floor, the action is initiated by the lower abdominal muscles.
The secret to a flat, toned and trim lower abdominal region lies in aerobic exercise and diet. In addition, you need to do specific exercises, which I am about to teach you.
How to stimulate change when your abs stop responding. As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We tend to do the same exercises over and over again, in the hope that we will see results at some point. This does not work, because the body becomes accustomed to the same type of stress and becomes ‘energetically efficient’. This means that when you do the same exercise over a period of time, the body becomes so efficient at it that it burns fewer calories while doing it!
For example, if you use the treadmill 3 times a week, your body progressively burns less calories each time (as long as the speed, incline and duration remain the same). To get results, you need to adjust one of the 3 factors.
Also, following the same exercise regimen over and over not only gets boring, but can lead to exercise plateaus that can decrease your results.
Hence, if you normally exercise for 45 minutes four days a week on a treadmill with the same intensity and time for each workout, over time you will not benefit as much as you did when you began. Your body will become accustomed to the routine, and it can become increasingly difficult for you to meet your fitness goals. The repetitiveness also can be boring – even with music, TV or a magazine for distraction, the exercise might become mundane, which also can decrease the likelihood you’ll continue working out.
Mix it up! Do you work out at a gym? Instead of 45 minutes on a treadmill each time, jump on a Lifecycle exercise bike for 30 minutes, then spend 15 minutes on a stairclimber. Swim one day and lift weights another.
What does this have to do with lower abdominals? Everything! Change is good, and stimulates fat loss, which in turn helps the lower abdominal muscles become more visible and defined. Treat your body as a complete unit rather than over emphasizing the waistline. Don’t make the same mistake that everyone does – doing hundreds of repetitions of abdominal exercises in the hope of getting a flat abdominal region.
Lower abdominal muscle exercises. These exercises involve the lower body, specifically the gluteals (the muscles in the hip and buttock region burn a lot of calories, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body) and the quadriceps and calves. Translation – you burn more calories and more body fat. Strength training for the back and shoulders also helps boost metabolism, which is critical to low body fat.
Plank – Lower Abdominal And Lower Back Muscles. Starting Position: Get on an exercise matt on all fours, with your elbows touching the matt directly underneath your shoulders. Extend your legs back as far as you can, and keep the toes on the floor. Movement: Raise the hips up and hold yourself in this ‘plank position’ with your back completely flat. This is an excellent exercise for the hips, thighs and abdominal muscles. Lower the hips slowly down to the mat. Repeat 15-20 repetitions. (Most individuals find it hard to complete 15-20 reps for this exercise and 8-10 might be a more suitable starting point).
Reverse Crunches – Lower Abdominal Muscles. Starting Position: Lie on your back with your hands at your sides. Raise your legs straight up in the air. Movement: Exhale as you bend your knees while curling your lower body towards your chest. Inhale as you slowly return your legs to the starting position. Remember to squeeze your abs, and repeat as required. Repeat 15-20 repetitions.
Lying Scissors – Lower Abdominal Muscles. Starting Position: Lie on your back on an exercise matt with your palms on the mat under your lower back and your legs outstretched. Movement: Exhale as you alternately raise your legs up in the air with a slight bend in them. Inhale as you lower your legs back down to the matt. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions.
These exercises will help you get results, as long as you are consistent with the program. Good luck on your way to a flat lower abdominal region!